We've heard news recently about a new form of scam that preys on people's fears about accidentally downloading computer viruses and spyware. Here's how it works: the scammer calls the victim and claims to be working for a computer monitoring firm, a security software provider, or "your Windows XP provider." They say that they have reason to believe the victim's computer has been compromised, and that they can investigate the problem if the victim gives them access to his or her computer using a popular (and legitimate) remote access program such as LogMeIn. If the victim complies, the scammer has the entire contents of the victim's computer at their fingertips -- including passwords, logins, and all kinds of information that are catnip to identity thieves.
Here's how to spot the scam:
1. They say they're from "your monitoring service" or "your provider" but they don't identify themselves by name. This is a huge red flag, particularly if you aren't signed up for a monitoring service!
2. They're contacting you by phone. If there's a real security problem, you're usually notified automatically when your security software runs.
3. They want a credit card number before they'll render their "services."
Naturally, we're concerned about this because we don't to see innocent computer users getting scammed -- particularly by people purporting to do the same kind of work that we do! Here's how we're different:
1. When we contact our clients, we identify ourselves as CMIT Solutions, not "your provider." And because we value our relationships, our clients know us personally and by name -- so there's no question that we are who we say we are when we call.
2. If it's a screaming emergency, we might contact you by phone -- but because you know us and can always call us back if you're in doubt about who's really calling you, you can feel safe knowing you're working with a trusted resource. Otherwise, we can take care of most security issues for our CMIT Marathon customers without them even noticing. (CMIT Marathon is our remote monitoring and maintenance service, which includes security updates.)
3. If you're a CMIT Marathon or Guardian customer, you're subscribed to an ongoing service and won't have to provide payment over the phone if you ever call us with a question. Depending on your individual plan, we might have to bill separately for a visit to your office -- but you'll get a proper invoice, not a pushy technician pressuring you for a credit card number on the phone.
For more information about the phone-based "tech support" scam, you can check out this helpful AARP Bulletin article
. For more information on CMIT Marathon, click here
Have you been contacted by a scammer using this method or something similar? Let us know by commenting below so we can help get the word out about these scams.